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Resourcing the national curriculum for KS3

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These pages are going to develop as the GA volunteer groups provide more ideas to help you in resourcing the national curriculum in your school.

Locational and place knowledge

Key stage 3 students should be using globes, maps and atlases routinely in the classroom. These can be purchased from our shop. You may find Mapping our globe and Think Pieces: Using maps and atlases useful. There are also ideas for using inflatable globes with your students in this download.

Ideas for starter activities

i) Ask a student to locate today’s activity on a classroom map, then follow this by discussing which continent it is in and what they may already know about the country (someone may have visited that country).

ii) If there are any newsworthy events happening in the world, collect an article, pinpoint it on an atlas and discuss why it might be happening in that place.

iii) Do a ‘map race’: Design around 10 questions based on a page in an atlas or an area of a map then give small groups of students this atlas or map and then hand out the 1st question only. Students must find the answer on the page and rush back to you with the answer on their paper, you then hand them the second question the answer and so on. This can provide a good introduction to a study of an area.

iv) “What’s missing?”: Have a map on the board with a place name or area missing (a country for example) and students need to guess what it is, this could be used to reinforce prior learning of a certain place, e.g. have a map of Brazil and the Amazon river is missing OR it could be used to develop the knowledge of a place, e.g. countries surrounding Brazil – which one is missing?

v) “Where in the world?”: In a similar way to having a ‘reveal’ starter activity over a picture, you could do the same with a country, it could include picture clues as well as a map or atlas as the central focus

vi) Clues based activity – give students a map or atlas and give clues about which place they will be discussing, this could include grid references, use of directions and scale as well as which features it is close to. Students need to find the place as quickly as they can.

Top tips for locational knowledge!

i) Give students the opportunities to access maps, atlases and globes on a regular basis and incorporate these into lessons. Don’t hide them away!

ii) Use Google Earth to contextualise a case study or example which is being used in class. You can use the ‘pins’ to determine where Google Earth will ‘fly’ to if more than one place is being used. You could also use this tool to generate discussion on scale, i.e. how big other countries are compared to our own. Alternatively, rather than simply ‘flying’ straight to an area you could ’fly’ to that continent, then to that country and then to the area you are focusing on. This will give a better perspective on an area which is being discussed.

iii) Form time often includes quizzes and informal activities, why not include some map or atlas work as part of this?

iv) After each school holiday, allow students to discuss and showcase where they might have been, you could pinpoint these on a world map and ask students to describe what it is like there. This could be done for holidays abroad and indeed in the UK. This would be especially effective for students beginning secondary school as it facilitates a ‘getting to know you’ lesson.

v) Following on from the previous top tip, when primary school children visit their secondary school for their induction day, hand out stickers with the school address on and ask students to post a postcard from their summer holiday destination to school which can be used in the same manner as above on the first day back.

vi) Use students’ knowledge of their local area and other familiar areas (i.e. their ‘personal geographies’ to aid their understanding of maps, i.e. if they can picture it on the ground they are more likely to interpret the map correctly. This could also be particularly valuable in a school with pupils from all over the world as you could use their stories and knowledge to teach the other pupils.

vii) Use ‘Geography in the News’ as a way of accessing students’ locational knowledge, e.g. the Olympics (where do the athletes come from? Where are the Olympic venues?), European Championships (which countries are taking part?), natural disasters (where have they occurred, why?)

These ideas were provided by the GA’s Secondary Phase Committee. There are more top ideas here.

Resourced lesson plans

Students should develop their place knowledge through the study of the human and physical geography of a region within Africa and a region within Asia. The KS3 Geography Teachers Toolkit provides a fully resourced ten lesson scheme of work on Africa; Into Africa: How are our lives connected to Africa? and closely examines the country of Kenya and the issue of trade in A Thorny Issue: Should I buy a valentine’s rose? And investigates the rapid changes in China in The Rise and Rise of China: Where will China go from here?

There are already ten titles in the KS3 Toolkit series and more on their way. This table shows how they match the 2014 national curriculum.

Geographical skills

Students should also develop greater competence in using geographical tools such as Geographical Information Systems. One of our top sellers is GIS Made Easy: Geography lessons using GIS provides nine fully resourced lessons using free web based GIS that can be incorporated into your schemes of work.

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